I knew the weather wasn’t going to be brilliant today but what I love about Wales, Mid Wales, is that I still find it stunning even if it is raining or windy, hail, whatever – sometimes it only adds to that exhilarating feeling when you are outdoors. That’s what it was like today. I set off from Gregynog Hall and went north from the rear of the hall through Great Wood. I love Great Wood and I wish I had known it was there when my children were little. We visited Gregynog many times but played on the lawns at the front. So if you haven’t been to Great Wood, it’s a must - a magical place.
Then along the lane that took me up to Firhouse Sheepwalk. As soon I went through the gate on to the track I knew this was going to be a fantastic walk - the land is so rugged and unique to Mid Wales. To add to the atmosphere, a hunt was taking place, hunting for what I'm not sure, but the calls from the hunting horn, carried by the wind, made it all quite surreal. At the next gate I took a pic of the view looking back, it was very satisfying, even today. I turned off on to a track called Borfa-hafod Firs that takes you down to an old quarry. On a new walk, you can sometimes underestimate what fantastic views you are going to get and from this track the views of the Severn Valley were breath taking. I love it when this happens – it’s like finding treasure and I immediately want to share it with others.
From the quarry I knew the bridle way very well, having walked it many times when I lived up in Adfa and many times since. The bridle way takes you right up on to Bryn Du across open access land. The weather up here is rarely what it’s like on lower ground and so up I went into the mist, onto what really is the middle of nowhere. Thankfully it was all very familiar to me but I probably wouldn’t recommend doing this if you’d never been there before and definitely not on your own, like me. The track was well used by possibly tractors or quads and extremely boggy in places, there is the odd waymarked post but today I could only see about 20 yards in front of me and the wind was so strong and noisy. It really was very exciting.
I was looking out for Llyn y Tarw, a beautiful lake with a small island that has a colony of terns. When I’ve been up here before the terns have seen me and made a din but today I couldn’t even see across to the island, never the less, it was exhilarating to suddenly come to this mass of water in the mist. Time for a snack and a drink but today wasn’t a day for hanging around for too long. So onwards onto the track that takes you to the main bridle way which runs across the ridge of Bryn Du. It was quite eerie - I could hear the wind turbines but I couldn’t see them first of all, then the mist cleared and, like them or loathe them, there they were.
I came off this track further on and headed down towards Gwgia Reservoir. On the way down I could see back across to Borfa-hafod Firs –I think it’s always nice to see where you were earlier on in the walk, satisfying. Gwgia looked as lovely as ever with its little dam, boathouse and causeway, one of my favourite spots and good diversion to miss out some road on the way back. There is a pretty little lane from the dam back to the Bwlch -y-ffridd road, and then taking the lane back to Gregynog, via Great Wood. 11.6 miles